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No CLM, I have no axe to grind. You just don't see the big picture. As I've stated, I really WANT to race Halifax next year, and I HOPE the series is still around. I'm not a Tri101 accountant, but I am realistic, and given the current offerings I just don't see how there is room for this series. I'm not shooting in the dark here - I've served as race director for our local tri for the last 4 years. I understand logistics, as does KJ, and I think we're both in agreement that it doesn't look good.
Pro's don't keep a race alive, especially when a race pays out big prize money. You need the average Joe and his friends to come to your race, with their families. They didn't come this year, and that's a shame. You also need those average Joe's to volunteer, buy hotel rooms, and eat at restaurants - that keeps the community happy, and keeps them willing to put up with the inconvenience of raceday interruptions to their town. It's not easy to convince a town council to accommodate a race, especially a long course. Do you fully understand the logistics involved in putting on a race? Make no mistake, town councils are NOT big fans of anything that involves using public roads.
Our local tri attracts about 400 athletes a year, approximately 50 of them local. We're a remote location, but because we have junior divisions, we stay alive. We attract kids - and by default, kids bring families. The average out of town entrant for our race brings 3 other people with them, so that works out to about 1100 people coming to our town. I track this so that I can understand the economic impact, and use this info to persuade our town to pave roads, supply police, etc. By the way, this is a sprint tri. With incredible long term sponsorship, and fantastic volunteers, it still costs us about $20,000 to run the event each year.
That's just a well-established sprint. A long course is a whole different ballgame. Ask Chip or KJ. This is a HUGE undertaking, with extremely high expenses. Sponsor dollars can help to offset some of the financial pressure, but when I look at the One-o-One site I see a distinct lack of major sponsors. Go take a look...you'd be surprised at the lack of sponsors.
I want to race Halifax next year, really bad. I would have this year, but it conflicts with a certain IM race that I registered a year in advance for (before I knew about 101). I love the distance, and the concept. But the "common sense" side of me outweighs the emotional side, and I see the obvious signs that things aren't good. Pick a problem, any of which would be crippling to a RD:
- NO MAJOR SPONSORS (big problem)
- NO ENTRANTS (HUGE problem)
- REDUCED ENTRY REVENUE (HUGE problem)
(we know they were in massive need of entrants, because of all of the 1/2 price entry promotions everywhere)
- TERRIBLE SCHEDULING (a big problem, and a poor mistake)
- SAFETY CONCERNS (growing pain)
- NO ECONOMIC IMPACT (big problem)
(which affects the communities willingness to host again)
One-o-one wants to expand to 20 events worldwide, but they're struggling with 4. 20 is an awesome idea, but this isn't Field of Dreams...they built it, and people aren't coming. As RD, there is no way that I could be making money on a sprint event with this small a field, let alone a long course race. This is a big problem, regardless of how many STers say "it'll be fine." You people need to realize that a race is a business, and if the business loses money it closes.
Someone asked why I'm fixated on the number of entrants? Because 140 entrants doesn't pay for the $50,000 in prize money, and the marketing, and the huge swag bags, and the event licenses, and the police, and the finishers medals, and the event insurance, and the t-shirts, and the fancy video screens, and the timing system, and the bike racks, and the lifeguards, and the fencing, and the food, and the motor vehicles, and the signage...need I go on? And it certainly doesn't leave any room for profit, which is why it's being run in the first place.
So CLM, you have a lot to say yet you're a perfect example of why this One-o-One concept isn't working. You're among the relative few that knew about the race, yet you weren't there - you chose another race...an established race. Sure, like us you probably like the concept, but you didn't put your money where your mouth is. Don't get me wrong, I'm not faulting you, but I'm just saying that you're a perfect example of what they're up against if they are to survive. You do long course races, yet you weren't there. You probably like certain ones, or you didn't want to travel to Florida, or...whatever your reason, you weren't there. Neither was I. Let's say you're not alone. Let's say there are thousands out there just like you who actually knew about the race and chose to race elsewhere or chose not to go...what makes you so sure it will survive?
I have no axe to grind. I'm just incredibly disappointed with the the dismal support that this event received. It seemed like such an excellent idea, but 140 entrants is a bad, bad sign. Again, I WANT to race Halifax next year - that's the emotional me talking. But the realistic me says that if you think that a long course race with only 140 participants is a viable business interest, then you need to get your head screwed on straight.
By the way, there are only 113 entrants so far for Clearlake on June 10. 30 of them are pro's who typically homestay (no economic impact there). I also assume that anyone coming in from out of town has probably registered already, so the hotels know their business levels already. Barring huge race-day registrations, this race will likely be another flop. I would suggest that if you all want to see this series survive, that you go race it before it goes bankrupt. Or you can comment on how it's fine, and wait for other people to keep this series alive, but so far those other people aren't coming.
One problem is that it was announced after most people had their race schedules set for the year. I know I do/did (I pretty much know what I'm doing in 2008 already too.) Second, I would race Clear Lake, but for the fact I wil have done an IM race (and traveled to/from Brazil) just two weeks prior. The coach said no. I will most likely be at CL to volunteer. Third, I have no desire to travel to any race in the state of Florida, no matter the RD. Fourth, I may race the Woodlands race this fall. Stay tuned.
I say, wait until the 2008 races happen due to my point 1 above. Then we can talk.
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I dont think most athletes have ever heard of any of these people. Have been racing 15 years, 10 with IMNA. The list I know is short, and none of them are on it. Do you really pick a race based on what pros are there?
I think that it's these types of challenges that every potential 101 participant faces. The thing about picking a race is that so many people are caught in the IM cycle - having to register a year in advance - that they'd already set their schedule by the time the 101 series was announced. It can't win. I personally think they announced their schedule too late, but I also think that anyone doing an IM won't likely be able to fit in a 101 race, unless they're months apart. Since we register for IM races so far in advance, that series wins by default.
So it all boils down to too many long course races - there's just no room for the series, unfortunately. You're a prime example of what they face, because like thousands of other long course triathletes, you're already doing an IM. That pretty much clears your schedule for at least a month before and after. And it's not like you can race long course every weekend, so you have to pick and choose these races carefully, and coordinate the schedule.
Like most others, you're also travelling to an IM, and these are generally destination races. Not too many people pick an IM because it's close to them. But are the 101 events the type of race that you'll pack the wife and kids up for, and head across the country to race in? I'm not sure, but with that in mind you're currently looking at mostly local people in the 101 fields. If you check out the ClearLake field, outside of the 30 pros, the majority of the field are CA residents. These races are geared toward being destination events, but realistically, they're not.
Anyway, you had specific reasons why you weren't racing, and the funny thing is that your reasons are probably shared by most of the long course triathlete community: schedule already set, conflicts with IM, and don't want to travel to that race. The major hurdle for the 101 guys is that for long course triathletes, the IM event will always be the A race - the one they sign up for first, the one they travel too, the one they train all year for - and everything else has to fit around that schedule.
Here's the problem for next year. In my case, I'd like Halifax to be my A race for 2008, but committing to Halifax means saying no to a domestic IM. I'll be at MOO and LP so signup is easy, but by passing on an IM, I take the chance that Halifax will still run. If it doesn't, then I don't have an IM to fall back on because the rush to get in is over so quick. Yeah, I know I can always try another non-IM race but to be honest I love the vibe of racing with 2000 others - it's fun. I may try Silverman, but I'd love to see more people on the course. Anyway, it's a dilemma, and it's the same one that many, many long course triathletes will face. The fact is that for most of us our '08 schedule will be set in the next few months, when they sign up for an IM a year ahead of time. How many people will pass up an IM spot to take the chance that a fledgling series will still be around next year? I want to, but I'm still not sure I will. Tough call.
I'm still optimistically looking forward to Halifax in '08, but not holding my breath.
had this been a field of 1400 instead of 140 jordan would never have made the wrong turn. but, there are other issues. the bradenton race should never have happened. clear lake should've been the opener. i think the organizers understand that. it was an expensive lesson.
Amen!!!! The number of times I have almost killed/gotten killed by a (well-meaning) policeman with his back to the bike flow, or waiving his arms in a way that made no sense to a biker ripping around a curve, or who misjudged a gap in the cyclists to allow a car through...
As to the discussion of 1-0-1's development, I am like a lot of people who just gets tired of triathlon hype. Most all of it is specious. And PR cuts both ways; it is necessary to promote a business, but when it fails to happen you are stuck with beign called on your claims. Remember the PR about how many athletes were demanding this distance, how it was an idea who's time has come, how IM has a legitimate competitor, etc? Nothing not to like about almost any race, but they have numbed the market while increasingly believing their own hype. Now we have to hear that 140 competitors is actually huge compared to Kona their first years....yeah, that's a valid comparison.
As for the "supply side" of the equation: it seems that there are now twice as many triathlons around, particularly the 1/2 IM distance. I don't see how they can all be viable.
In any event, thanks to all RD's who make the effort! Certainly few of you are doing this to get rich. Best wishes to everyone...I just wish I had a free weekend to go to Halifax, myself.
The police officers did an amazing job dealing with the large amount of traffic that was backed up on the bike course in front of the shopping areas (especially Wal-Mart) and near the I-75 interchange. The police definitely earned their money, unlike some other races where they seem to be doing just enough to earn their pay. Thank you to all of the officers!!
I witnessed the female pro t-bone the car who turned left in front of her. She had just passed me and gave me an encouraging word, then put her head down and started hammering again. She looked up at the last second, but it was too late. After witnessing that on my first lap, I had my hands on the brakes through every intersection for the remainder of the ride. No one turned in front of me but I did have to nearly stop once to get between two cars that were stopped in the middle of the road.
Every pro I saw was riding through the many intersections with his or her head down and in the aero position. I was surprised there weren't more accidents. A teammate of mine also collided with a car but was able to continue. I do think every triathlete has to be prepared for anything that might happen on a bike course and can't just put his or her head down when going through intersections and rely on the race organization to keep him or her safe. We've all done it, including myself, and I can understand the need to hammer with your head down when there's a $50K prize purse.
Another aid station on the bike would have been a bonus, but wasn't a major concern or problem for me.
The remainder of the event went very smoothly. The volunteers, although few in number, were excellent as were the spectators along the course. I like single loop courses the best, but the multiple loops didn't bother me much. The race is the thing, more than looking at different scenery all the time.
I witnessed how hard Shannon and the entire 101 organization worked over the weekend and in the months leading up to the Bradenton event. I think that in time -- with their history and with things they can still learn -- they are capable of putting on a national series of long-distance triathlons that is equal to the best in the U.S. and I've done many of the high-profile, long-standing triathlons in the U.S.
They will be able to find better locations than Bradenton (or better bike courses in Bradenton) in the future if people start to fall in love with the 101 distance. I can testify from Sunday that a 101 is easier to survive than an IM because, well, it's shorter than an IM. I didn't do a swim longer than 1500 yards, do a ride longer than 30 miles or run longer than 13 in prep for the race. I do, however, have a deep base from more than 10 years of IM training and made no attempt to "race" the event, although I definitely had to focus in the final half of the run just to keep running.
Since I cruised most of the event, others will have to testify as to whether the recovery time is significantly shorter than the time it takes to recover from an IM.
The first 101 race is in the books, but I still have the same question that I had when I first heard about the series. Is there enough interest out there to build and sustain another national long-distance series?
That's up to you guys, I guess. I've done my time. My personal interest in long-distance triathlon is fading after more than 20 years. After my farewell tour of DATTT and IMLP in the coming months, I'm ready to for a new focus on sprint tris and hour-long trail runs.
Assuming that there is a different bike course next year, I'd recommend the Bradenton 101 race if you're looking for a new challenge. The race organizers will treat you very well and there are some beautiful beaches on the Gulf to enjoy before and after the race.
Mark Lemmon doing business here as Dave Stohler
and I know I would be the first one to sign up for clear lake for this distance.
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personally, i think the biggest single bloc of entries available to the 101 folks are those who've already signed up for an Ironman. there are two types of people out there, those who are truly ready for their IM and know they are, and those who truly aren't... and know they aren't. and know they're not going to be.
considering the pool of those who're racing IMs these days, i would say there are a lot more in the second category than are in the first.
the 101 is the perfect race for the IM hopefuls who, as their IM approaches, are less and less hopeful because of what has transpired in their lives in the 9 or 10 months since they were obliged to enter. if i were the 101 guys, i'd be going hard after this pool of potential entries.
by the way, i heard they wrote checks to the pro athletes the afternoon of the race. i'm going to keep track of the bills, finding out which are paid and how fast. if these guys pay johnny on the spot, i'm going to trumpet that. if they don't, i'm going to trumpet that. but if they do, then i hope folks will understand that the true heroes of this sport are those who go into their own personal tank, and go in deep, wagering on this market (whether in retail, manufacturing or in race production). it's especially hard to go deep, betting on a market, when so much of that market thinks ill of its own capacity to support a new venture.
Yeah for sure. I'd consider doing one if there was one down here in NZ, just to see how my prep is going for an ironman. But don't really know if there is the market for something like that here...it's already pretty saturated given the population base.
In reality a mid-April race would compete (in the southeast) only against St.Anthony's for racers. Weather is almost uniformly good, and those early year racers can easily do the 101 and then choose either the GCT or 1/2IMFL if they want.
It sounds like a lot of well intentioned effort went into this series and this race, but its the result not the effort that gets judged. In Australia we just had two Half IM's cancelled for this season due to lack of numbers (they were getting fields of around 300-400). I looked at the 101 concept with a lot of interest (I always get excited about a new race and a chance to travel somewhere new) but 140 people in the USA? That cant be right - you guys are the experts of big. A single state in the US will order more bikes from a manufacturer than our entire country - how can you only get 140 people to a brand new 'bells and whistles' race? You have how many well attended iron distance races each year? (we have 2). Surley you would have expected at least 500 folk (the triathlete tradgics like us) who would turn up out of morbid curiosity if for nothing else? I attanded a new off-road tri race down the coast from Melbourne in Aus as I wanted to support the concept and we got about the same number of entrants but this was just a little local fun race...
The big problem seems to be that the market already has what it wants: a short Ironman branded race for the masses (70.3), a full IM distance for the enthusiasts, and something unobtainable for the obsessed (Kona). So I look at 101 and I dont get it. Anyone know roughly how much money they spent to get to this point? The retun on 140 entrants would be about $25K (assuming some half price entries etc). In the words of the Simpsons cartoon fast food attendent "Allow me to retreive your burreto from the boiling oil Mr Simpson, Ow!, Ow!, Ow!"
2004: 53,000 members
2006: 70,000 members
2007: 90,000 members
Do you believe that the proliferation of races is due to race directors overestimating the growth of the sport? My first race of the season was a sprint triathlon in a small town west of Atlanta. It capped at 350 racers and sold out several weeks ahead of race day. I know there is a difference between putting on a sprint and a 70.3 but it sure seems that we have a shortage of races here in Georgia ... in fact, as much as I enjoy Gilford and Lake Winnepesaukee, I would prefer that you move Timberman to Atlanta!
My thoughts on One-o-One; it is a concept that is ahead of its time. They are targeting the individual who wants to go long but is not ready for IM or can not commit the time to an IM training regimen. There are not enough people out there who fit this bill. The sport is in rapid growth mode and just about every newbee into the game (especially those over 40) sets his or her sights on Ironman. They decide to do an Olympic in year 1, a 70.3 in year 2 ("I want to get the warm and fuzzies associated with an IM and only go 70.3 miles") and then their IM in year 3. If they can break even for the next several years I do believe that it is a concept that could work and experienced triathletes will see the benefit of the distance ... right now, there are not enough experienced triathletes dumping money into our sport ... it is all the newbees.
Is 101 doomed? Not sure. But 140 participants for an event that was SIGNIFICANTLY marketed to the triathlon community is very weak.
This is somethong I will never understand. Just about every race course for every triathlon is open to car traffic. I have been racing and riding bikes for many years and no matter if I am out training or racing I am always heads-up and ready for anything when going through an intersection - even in a race where there are police at the intersection. Just last summer at a local race here in Ontario I as involved in an incident. As I was heading towards an intersection at high speed on my bike, I saw the cop with his arm up holding up the traffic for me and he was motioning me through. However, out of the corner of my eye I could see that there was a car in second postition at the light that was starting to come around the first stopped car and even with the cop shouting loudly and nearly jumping in front of that car it still came out into the intersection blocking my path and I had to take evasive action to avoid a collison with the car. I ended up in the gravel on the far shoulder of the road, somehow still upright, a little frazzeled but none the worse for wear and I carried on. I was able to get through this because I was ready for anything in the intersection. Had I just barreled through head-down and hammering, I would have slammed right into the car that had lurched out into the intersection.
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their problem is not that the concept is wrong, or the timing (in a macro sense) is wrong. the problem was that announcing an early-may event during the prior november is wrong. the long coursers have already made up their minds what they're going to do. as word spreads, and ads appear in magazines, in february, march, april, nobody has time to get ready for an event of that length. it's not a sprint, it's not an impulse buy. they should've opened in clear lake, and that's what i counseled them. i would guess their sense of my soundless of counsel went up, as their bank balance went down (as a result of this race).
when i said i thought the biggest market was unprepared IM aspirants, i wasn't talking about the 101 as a get-ready race, but as an instead-of race. if you're not ready for brazil or couer d' alene, chasing your non-refundable entry fee is throwing good money after bad, and applying what might be appropriate 101 training to the inappropriate 140.6 distance. of course, for those who've done the work, and know they're ready for 140.6, and want to do that race, they ought to do that race.
yes, the event was SIGNIFICATLY marketed. but it was marketed SIGNIFICANTLY late. i predict the series will succeed. the question is whether it will succeed with precisely the current folks, that is, the 101 brand will be built, and i don't think it's going to just go away. but after the current crop of investment and execution is exhausted, it's either going to have been all worthwile and a thriving brand, or it'll still be sputtering and another group will come in and add assets and expertise and give it a shot in the arm. if 101 makes it 12 months, and it executes and pays its bills, then i doubt it's going away.
I'd also guess that the increase in #'s of USAT members may also mean that the sport is changing a bit, to become more participatory as opposed to hardcore. Think of running, and the marathon boom. The marathon used to be about the hardcore athlete. Now, it's about finishing. I'd offer a guess that alot of the new USAT members are in it for the lifestyle, do some tris, but it's not all about longcourse. After reading this, I'm thinking I'll just start putting on sprints:)
Seriously, I don't know the answer. I just think that the # of serious longcourse athletes is leveling off, even while the sport is growing. Even with a big increase in longcourse athletes, it still can't feed the current # of races. I'm sure everyone on this board has seen the HUGE increase in # of HIM's in the past year.
Back on the soapbox, but I also think there are more people deciding to put on races, seeing the increase in #'s in the sport. Thinking this is their road to riches, they decide they'll put on a HIM. But, look around...How many HIM's are truly successful and profitable? It's not that many. You do need the big #'s....Off the top of my head, there are only about 12 or so that are bigtime in the US...Eagleman, Timberman, Wildflower, Steelhead, FL 70.3, Cali 70.3, Gulf Coast, Buffalo Springs, Vineman, Spirit of Racine, Clearwater...I may be forgetting a few, but that's about it. This isn't to say these are the only good races, but they're the biggest. There are quite a few really great races, but they don't draw the numbers....That's a pretty small list....
So you have the very fit professionals who like the 101 distance because they can race more times per season and the people who sign up because they don't believe they are fit enough to finish the IM they have scheduled. That seems to leave a big gap in the middle of the field?
Aside from here, where else was it marketed? Like you said, word needs to get out, but I don't remember seeing it anywhere really except on here.
There other thing is dates. Last weekend there were four HIM distance or greater races on the same weekend, two in California, one a very long established race. You will never get the California crowd to fly across the country on that weekend.
And the Clear Lake date---I think it would be better on another date. Right now it's the weekend after Alcatraz. Around here, everyone has Alcatraz on the mind, plus the large number of folks who are going to IM CdA. I still say that there is a need for a good long distance race here in October. Yeah, there is Napa in the fall, but Envirosports needs to up their game some if they are going to continue to charge the prices they charge.
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